Sustainable Farming magazine V5 I2 -- Summer 2020

News: COVID-19: Fight Or Flight; Cattle: Stay In Control; Regenerative Standards Opinion: Britain At Breaking Point? Cover feature: COVID-19 Fight Or Flight Cover feature: New Standard (Certified Regenerative by AGW) Technical: A Brave New World Technical: In Control Of Our Impulses Technical: New Approaches To Worming Technical: The Immune System Technical: Chicken On Grass Certification News: Desktop Audits Meet the Farmer: Lazy A Ranch in Texas

News: COVID-19: Fight Or Flight; Cattle: Stay In Control; Regenerative Standards
Opinion: Britain At Breaking Point?
Cover feature: COVID-19 Fight Or Flight
Cover feature: New Standard (Certified Regenerative by AGW)
Technical: A Brave New World
Technical: In Control Of Our Impulses
Technical: New Approaches To Worming
Technical: The Immune System
Technical: Chicken On Grass
Certification News: Desktop Audits
Meet the Farmer: Lazy A Ranch in Texas


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It’s easy to sound glib

in these unprecedented

times but farmers and

ranchers—and their

families and local communities—have


on our minds 24/7.

As the scale of the

COVID-19 pandemic

became clear, our first priority was the safety of

AGW staff and farming families in the program.

We halted all physical site audits and all staff

travel in March. It was the right decision because

the situation rapidly worsened.

When the nation shut down, countless farmers

who sold to restaurants, schools and other

institutions lost markets almost overnight. In

response, AGW took immediate action to help.

First, we sought to minimize the strain on farmers

and ranchers in the program—for example, by

suspending audit fee collection and extending

deadlines for compliance documents. With farms

unable to sell product, and many communities

seeing increasing dependence on food assistance,

we set up a nationwide campaign—'Help Farmers

Feed Hungry Families'—to connect farmers who

have excess supply with local food banks. In this

way, we can help get food to people who need it

the most while helping to keep farms in business.

When we learned that thousands of independent

farms were ineligible for federal support, we

joined over 20 other sustainable food companies

and advocacy groups (including Farm Aid and

the Sustainable Food Trade Association) to urge

Congress to ensure independent farmers could

access the $1.8 trillion emergency relief fund. We

approached key representatives to express our

anger that most federal funding has gone to large

commodity players instead. We will continue to

engage on behalf of independent farmers.

Our FMOC team has reached out to every certified

farm to assess their individual situations and

we’ve been sending out a weekly email to keep

everyone informed. We’ve regularly updated the

COVID-19 resources on our website with useful

information on direct marketing, grants and

funding, e-commerce, shipping and more, as well

as advice on emergency planning going forward.

While public safety is paramount, it’s in

everyone’s interests to maintain the integrity

of AGW programs and certified businesses. So

we have introduced new protocols for remote

auditing and will resume on-site audits as soon

as it’s safe to do so (see page 19). The situation

remains highly fluid: as I write, the infection rate

is rising again in many states.

But COVID has fundamentally exposed the

fragility of our centralized food system and many

consumers won’t forget the empty grocery store

shelves or the way independent farmers stepped

up to help. We will have an opportunity to rebuild.

When that times comes we must all be ready. In

the meantime, please let us know if we can help

navigate this ever-changing environment.

Sustainable Farming

Summer 2020

volume 5 • issue 2

cover price $6



Editor: Peter Mundy





The views expressed by

contributors to Sustainable

Farming are not necessarily those

of A Greener World. Every effort

is made to check the factual

accuracy of statements made in

the magazine, but no guarantees

are expressed or implied.

Material may not be reproduced

without prior written permission.

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OR 97760





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The Certified Regenerative by A Greener World

(AGW) label is now available to farmers and


Launched this summer, the new program offers

whole-farm assurance of sustainability, measuring

benefits for soil, water, air, biodiversity, infrastructure,

animal welfare and social responsibility.

While other regenerative labels exist, Certified

Regenerative by AGW is the only regenerative

label that ensures audited, high-welfare animal

management and slaughter.

“We’re delighted to launch our Certified

Regenerative by AGW standards, which promote

ecological balance through continual improvement

of healthy, thriving ecosystems from the soil up,”

says Emily Moose, Director of Communications

and Outreach. “Truly regenerative farming means

better treatment for workers and animals, and

healthier farm ecosystems with cleaner air and

water—which grow healthier food.”

“Open to all farmers, regardless of organic certification,

Certified Regenerative by AGW is the

only regenerative agriculture program that functions

as a management tool, helping producers meet

their own regenerative goals through an audited,

regenerative plan and meeting farmers where they

are and partnering on a journey of regeneration.”

Before introducing the new standards, AGW

carried out a comprehensive analysis of best

practices and the latest science on the regenerative

approach. Certified Regenerative by AGW farms

are audited each year to detailed standards, criteria

and principles that ensure comprehensive

verification of regenerative practices. The new

standards are rigorous, practical and achievable,

offering a common understanding of regenerative

production that delivers sustainability and meets

consumer expectations.

Interested? Contact your regional FMOC for more

information (see page 24).





Bayer will pay up to $10.9 billion to settle

a number of lawsuits about the potential

carcinogenic effects of its glyphosate-based

herbicide, Roundup.

The German agrichemical giant acquired its rival

Monsanto in 2018 for $63 billion and has been

facing over 125,000 claims in the U.S. after a

California court issued the first ruling linking the

herbicide to cancer. The company continues to

deny any safety concerns: “We stand strongly

behind our glyphosate-based herbicides.”


Scientists at Rothamsted Research UK have

definitively demonstrated that intensive farming

practices drain the soil of carbon, altering the

structure of soils’ microscopic habitat.

Writing in the Scientific Reports journal, they

say, “the shift from manure to ammonia and

phosphorous based fertilizers has caused microbes

to metabolize more carbon, excrete less polymers

and fundamentally alter the properties of farmland

soils when compared to their original grassland



A new consumer brochure is now available to

certified farmers and ranchers. Part of AGW’s

extensive promotional merchandise range,

the tri-folded consumer brochure describes

AGW’s third-party certifications using easyto-understand

information and eye-catching

images, and is designed to show customers

the wide-ranging benefits of AGW’s family

of certifications.

For farms and businesses selling AGW-certified

products. To order, see page 25.


Pesticides can impair brain growth in bumblebees,

warn scientists. Published in Proceedings of the

Royal Society B, researchers at Imperial College

London used micro-CT scanning technology

to show how parts of bumblebee brains grew

abnormally when exposed to neonicotinoid

pesticides during their larval phase, making them

poorer at performing tasks later in life. They argue

that direct exposure to pesticides through residues

on flowers should not be the only consideration

when determining potential pesticide harm.





A Greener World is leading a nationwide campaign

to help farmers deliver products to people severely

impacted by COVID-19.

Rising unemployment, school nutrition program

closures and massive strain on traditional

support networks led to skyrocketing demand

for food assistance. At the same time, farmers

who depended on sales to restaurants, schools

and other institutional customers lost markets

overnight. While $19 billion in COVID relief was

promised to support farmers, this is expected

to benefit large commodity producers.

AGW’s peer-to-peer fundraiser, Help Farmers

Feed Hungry Families, is connecting certified farms

with excess food to local food banks, homeless

shelters, meals on wheels, and other nonprofits

to feed those who need it most, enabling AGW

supporters to provide financial assistance to

help farms and their communities in need.

Hunter Farms in Jakin, GA saw beef sales drop

and the farm was left with excess supply. With

the support of AGW donors, they were able to

share their Certified Animal Welfare Approved

by AGW beef with Manna Drop’s monthly food

box pickup at Friendship United Methodist

Church, a program serving 300 families yearround.

Robert Braun of Pigeon River Farm, WI

is providing pasture-raised eggs to the Interfaith

Food Pantry in Portage County, which serves

around 230 families twice a month. For every

$10 given, the Brauns deliver three dozen eggs

to help families in need. “Our goal is to provide

180 dozen eggs twice a month,” says Braun.

“By connecting farmers with excess supply with

their local food banks, we can get food to those

who need it while helping farms stay in business,”

says AGW Executive Director Andrew Gunther.

Visit give.agreenerworld.org/covid19

Robert Braun, Pigeon River Farm Chad Hunter, Hunter Farms April Thatcher, April Joy Farm


Water and milk

are the only drinks

recommended for

toddlers, according

to the Food Safety

Authority of Ireland


Their report,

Scientific Recommendations



Dietary Guidelines

for 1 to 5 Year-Olds

in Ireland, defines

milk as a “key food,”

specifying a daily

intake of 18.5 ounces

of cow’s milk or

equivalent amounts

of yogurt or cheese.

The report also

warns that “some

beverages such

as almond ‘milk’,

coconut ‘milk’

and rice ‘milk’ …

are nutritionally


Read the full report

at fsai.ie


Zeal Grass Milk is the first Midwest brand to offer

Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW milk.

Part of the Free Range Dairies Group, Zeal

Grass Milk Creamery sources milk from partner

Missouri farms where cows are raised outdoors

under an intensive rotational grazing system. The

milk comes in two popular flavors—whole and

chocolate—and is available at select Chicagoland

stores including Sunset Foods, Sugar Beet Food

Co-op and Fresh Farms.

“Zeal Grass Milk’s products perfectly showcase

where we’re driving the food system: unmatched

integrity, excellent quality and real nutrition,”

says Sarah Hanlon, Director of Marketing

at Sunset Foods.

Visit zealgrassmilk.com


Members of two retirement communities in North

Carolina are benefitting from nutritious Certified

Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pork, sourced

from local farms.

Sam Suchoff, owner of The Pig, Lady Edison

and Deli Edison in Chapel Hill, is supplying the

Carolina Meadows and Galloway Ridge retirement

communities with fresh pasture-raised pork

sourced from farmers in the North Carolina

Natural Hog Growers Association (NCNHGA).

“Many restaurants and farming businesses have

been severely impacted by the COVID pandemic,”

says Callie Casteel, AGW’s Farmer and Market

Outreach Coordinator covering North Carolina.

“Sam’s sourcing relationship with the two retirement

communities not only supplies nutrientdense

pork to some of the most vulnerable, but

offers a new outlet to NCNHGA farmers at a time

when they need it most.”

left to right: Wallace,

Jones and Suchoff



AGW has introduced

temporary remote

auditing procedures

to maintain integrity

of all programs and

certified businesses.

“Our first priority

is keeping people

safe and minimizing

the spread of this

deadly disease,”

says Tim Holmes,

AGW’s Director

of Compliance.

“We didn’t want

a farmer who just

lost their market to

worry about paying

their audit invoice.

So we introduced

several temporary

measures to help,

including a hold

on collecting audit

fees up to June

1st and extending

some deadlines

for compliance


See also page 23




Hundreds of delegates took part in a ‘Heal

the Land, Heal the People’ webinar in early June,

organized by the Integra Trust, to raise awareness

of the social, economic and environmental benefits

of sustainable food and farming practices in

South Africa.

AGW South Africa Executive

Director, Tozie Zokufa, was

one of 30 expert speakers,

which included numerous

sessions throughout the day.

Zokufa spoke on a virtual

panel, chaired by Dr Pieter

Prinsloo of Certified

Grassfed by AGW Langside Meats, to discuss the

importance of producing food with integrity and

sustainably and the role AGW South Africa can

play in bringing sustainable farmers and consumers

together through food labels they can trust.

“This was an exciting and

timely initiative, with the

opportunity to significantly

raise the profile of A Greener

World and our trusted

food certifications in South

Africa—and beyond,” says




Thinking about becoming Certified Non-GMO by

AGW? If so, now is your chance: for a limited time

we’re offering a 25% discount.

The market for non-GMO products is surging 17%

annually and is expected to reach over $1.1 billion

by 2023, according to industry analyst, Technavio.

A lack of clear labeling around GMOs means that

consumers must actively seek out Certified

Non-GMO products to avoid them.

Available to farmers, ranchers and food producers,

the Certified Non-GMO by AGW label guarantees

food products are produced without genetically

engineered/modified feed, supplements or

ingredients, and that meat, dairy and eggs come

from animals raised according to the highest

animal welfare standards in the industry.

With independent annual audits to ensure compliance,

Certified Non-GMO by AGW provides

farmers, ranchers and food producers with a

robust, trusted and highly competitive non-GMO

label claim. If you would like to discuss the benefits

—and how Certified Non-GMO by AGW stacks up

to other non-GMO labels out there—get in touch


Visit agreenerworld.org/certifications/certifiednongmo-agw


Like what you read?

Do you value our work to support market

transparency and pasture-based farming?

Your donation supports real change.

A Greener World is a nonprofit that is made possible by donations from people like you.

Because we are not dependent on certification fees, we can remain impartial in our auditing,

resulting in unrivaled integrity and trust. Your donations help us stay independent.

Will you partner with us to build a greener world by giving today?

Learn more at agreenerworld.org/donate

Advertise here

and reach over


farm, ranch and

food businesses

email advertise@agreenerworld.org

call 800-373-8806



Our labeling team can help you create a high-impact design

that complies with all relevant food labeling guidelines.

Available FREE OF CHARGE to farmers, ranchers and

food businesses in the AGW certification family.

For full details visit


or call 800-373-8806





Don’t fall

for the UK’s






Wayne Copp is

Executive Director,

AGW UK and Europe

Over the coming weeks and months, American

farmers and ranchers will probably hear a lot of

apparent anti-U.S. farming reaction from the UK.

On behalf of all British farmers, please don’t take

it personally.

The ‘B’ word

In 2016, 51.89% of Britons voted to leave the

European Union in what is now known as the

Brexit referendum. Objectively, it is fair to say

that most British farmers were more than a

little ‘misled’ in the pre-election promises and

predictions from the Vote Leave campaign.

After leaving the clutches of the EU, we

were promised, British farming would once again

flourish. By ‘taking back control’ and cutting away

all the EU red tape we would be free to trade with

the EU and the rest of the world but without all

the regulations and paperwork. We could have

our (British) cake and eat it.

Yet three years on and the penny is finally

dropping: many farmers now realize they may

well have voted for their own demise.

Post-Brexit realities

The reality is that the future of thousands

of British farming families—and our hard-won

environmental and animal welfare standards—is

now effectively up for sale to the highest bidder.

And the going price? A successful free-trade deal

with the Trump administration.

Despite all the pre-election promises and

seductive words, it is clear the current government,

led by prime minister Boris Johnson, is callously

reneging on its Brexit campaign rhetoric. At the

time of writing it looks increasingly certain the

UK faces a disastrous ‘no deal’ Brexit where we

default to trade under WTO rules. Food imports


produced to lesser standards will give most UK

farmers limited options: either lowering their

production standards to compete or go out of

business. It’s a stark choice.

Make no mistake: the ‘perfect storm’ that is

unfolding before us could devastate UK farming

culture. Just take away farm subsidies, cut off easy

access to the biggest market on our doorstep and

flood the domestic market with cheap imports that

would be illegal to produce here in the UK. Despite

all the promises, British farming families, their

animals and the environment are simply ‘collateral

damage’ in the pursuit of a Trump trade deal.

It’s not you, it’s me

So, yes, we are angry. We fear for the future. But

despite what you are likely to hear, our problem is

not with U.S. farmers. Like many of you, we have

faced decades of mounting pressure to ‘get big

or get out.’ So far we have managed to remain

independent and resist the vertically integrated

industrial ‘contract’ farming model that is so

prevalent in the U.S. And thanks to extensive

animal welfare and environmental regulations

(and perhaps Britain’s long-held reputation as

a nation of animal lovers), the large-scale CAFOs

and feedlots you know so well are still a rarity

over here. But this is now all under threat.

I have always been proud of the steps that

farmers have taken in the UK to be world leaders

in pastoral, high-welfare farming. And I am

horrified at the prospect of this being ‘traded

away.’ We are calling on the government to

listen to the public and farmers and honor its

election and Brexit promises. If they fail to do

so, Boris Johnson will go down in history as the

prime minister who sold off UK farming and the

environment—and failed the British public.






We must grasp this moment and

use it to reimagine agriculture,

says Andrew Gunther

As a farming organization certifying high-welfare,

pasture-based farming practices, we are used to

challenges. But this is unlike anything we have

faced before.

As COVID-19 spread across the world like an

unwelcome smog it became increasingly obvious

that organizations and businesses paralyzed by

the overwhelming feeling of helplessness would

struggle to survive. As the weeks roll on, we realize

this may be the defining lesson for the future of

sustainable agriculture.

Key observations

Early in the pandemic, A Greener World paused

auditing, transitioned to remote work and focused

solely on meeting our farmers’ needs and helping

them adapt to a radically different reality. While

this shift happened relatively quickly, I saw more

complex supply chains struggle to adapt. If there

is wisdom to be gleaned from reflecting as this

pandemic unfolds, we hope our observations

and conclusions can be of use.

From the vantage point of independent,

sustainable agriculture, this is what we’ve seen:

Panic-buying and shocked supply chains.

While conventional supply chains are very

efficient, they can also be unwieldy—when

they stop, they stop hard, putting a lot of

volume on hold.

Farms whose products are normally processed

further (e.g. milk) having to dispose of products

due to supply chain disruptions, low processing

capacity and predatory practices by processors.

This is hard for farmers, made even more

distressing in the face of widespread food


Rejection of science on a terrifying scale, even

among the most powerful decision makers.

We saw conversations quickly polarized,

preventing obvious and sensible solutions.

A range of personal reactions. Team members

with practical farming experience pivoted

extremely quickly from one role to another,

while those without farming experience

appeared to take a few days longer. This may

reflect the two groups’ different skillsets, as

well as the unshakeable ingenuity of farmers.

Immediate adaptation by farmers able to

market directly to consumers. Many of the

supply chains we’re working with are shorter

and more nimble, allowing them to respond

quickly to changing needs.

State and federal governmental responses

all over the map, with some states going

in and out of lockdown seemingly without

justification, others coordinating countryworthy

responses, and others proudly

burying their heads in the sand.

Lessons to learn

Many have observed that COVID-19 is a practice

round for how we as a planet will respond to the

increasing threats of climate change. If so, I fear

we will fail the test tragically unless we make

some urgent changes. While this pandemic is still

unfolding, I hope we may draw some lessons that

could strengthen future efforts to tackle global

challenges constructively:

Let go of assumptions. What worked before

will likely fail now, and traditional strengths

may be weaknesses—and vice versa.

Ensure the health and safety of the most

vulnerable: the elderly, the healthcare workers,

economically disadvantaged, the incarcerated,

those on the front lines of food and farming.

Whether for altruistic or selfish reasons,

caring for these groups keeps us all safer.

Listen to farmers and scientists—they

understand the short and long-term impacts

better than most. Lock the corporate lobbyists

in the closet.

Give everyone a way to engage (example:

A Greener World’s supporters pitched in to

fund food bank donations from farmers without

markets, getting nutritious, pasture-raised

meats, dairy and eggs to people most in need).

Get comfortable with a certain amount of

redundancy. Airplanes have two control

systems in case one goes down, yet we have

no backup in agriculture. Eliminating all of the

redundancies in our food system in the pursuit

of “efficiency” has made it fragile. Planning and

redundancy are keys to a functioning system—

whether it’s food or healthcare.

These lessons are learned through a lens of

agriculture, but I challenge you to find a global

challenge that isn’t. In five decades of farming

I’ve noticed that nothing makes us think about

farmers as much as empty grocery store shelves.

Our flagship certification and food label, Certified

Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, was launched

on the precipice of a national recession here in the

United States, and I would not be surprised to see

a resurgent interest in those who feed us.

A broken system

We work with farmers operating largely outside

of the current norm. The vast majority of farm

animals in the United States are raised in

industrial confinement systems that rely on

routine antibiotics, lax environmental and labor

regulations, uncompetitive markets and subsidies

maximizing supply to the benefit of processors

and detriment of producers. Animals are also

brought to market just in time, which means

that as processing capacity failed, production

continued, leaving massive oversupply. The

“If we


to be



a limited


we will not

make the


the next



system is so finely tuned that a few weeks’

pause results in animals too big for processing

and handling equipment, as well as too late for

the projected demand. This is resulting in animals

being euthanized and dumped. This is not an

indictment of farmers in this system—farmers can

only produce for the markets available to them.

The way we farm in the United States is a direct

product of seeing food through the sole lens of

price and profit, and of not demanding better.

A challenging time

The UN’s FAO has called for agroecology as

solution for climate change. This is what our

farmers do—biodiverse stewardship that protects

the environment, supports public health and

nourishes rural economies—but these neighbors

and environmental stewards are at risk.

The most vulnerable part of sustainable

agriculture is the part that was just making it

into the mainstream—the restaurant suppliers,

the school meal suppliers, all those approaching

change at the scale we so desperately need. We

have just started to see schools serving pastureraised

meats, dairy and eggs from independent,

sustainable producers, foods renowned for

their nutritional benefits and valued for keeping

food dollars in the local community. I am very

concerned about these markets and their ability to

rebound, unless we fight for them now.

This is a challenging time for sustainable

agriculture. Not necessarily on every farm—many

are doing what they do every day: raising animals,

fruits and vegetables for appreciative communities

—but challenging for the trajectory of this movement.

And this challenge will require new and

honed skills as we navigate a post-pandemic

world. Tweaking at the fringes will not work—

now or in the future.

The future

If we in sustainable agriculture continue to be

satisfied with having our impact quarantined to

farmers markets and private gardens, we will not

make the changes the next generation deserves.

I challenge everyone meeting this moment to use

it to reimagine the scale of the problems before us,

as well as the urgency of their solutions, and face

both head-on with clear purpose.

Reprinted by permission from Springer Nature

Customer Service Centre GmbH: Springer Nature,

Agriculture and Human Values, ‘COVID-19: fight

or flight’, Andrew Gunther, copyright 2020.







No one can

predict what

will happen

next. But



means we

must all

plan for an



Following the global outbreak of COVID-19, we

know that many farmers (particularly those who

supply the hospitality sector) lost the majority

of their markets almost overnight. We also know

some farmers with established home delivery

services, online sales or farm shops have been

inundated by desperate customers. At the same

time, many of the services and supply chains that

farmers rely on—think animal feed or veterinary

services, slaughter facilities and outlets like

farmers’ markets—are at risk of disruption.

Survival mode

Regardless of your business model, many farmers

are now in ‘survival mode,’ forced to make rapid

decisions that will impact the future of their farms.

So how do you decide what to do when faced

with a total market collapse or unprecedented

demand that is sudden, unexpected, unavoidable

and unplanned for?

At A Greener World, we’re proud of our

reputation for being a practical, common-sense

program that’s grounded in the realities of everyday

farm and ranch life. Indeed, most of our auditors

and Compliance staff have many years of practical

experience in farming. And we know from personal

experience that when markets collapse suddenly—

or demand unexpectedly explodes—it is important

for farmers to take time out to look objectively

at their own unique situation in order to make

realistic and honest decisions for the future.

This takes a lot of discipline: it can be very hard

to remain objective when you have so much

of your identity and life invested in your farm

business. But it is an absolute necessity.

What is your market?

Farmers who are selling daily or weekly will have

very different options compared to those who are

selling monthly, quarterly or even once a year (for

example, those who raise turkey or geese for the

Holiday seasons).

In the case of market collapse, is it possible

to delay marketing an animal? Producers who are

raising pigs and poultry have very limited options

once these animals are in a growth system due to


the ongoing feeding costs—even if keeping animals

on a maintenance diet. For farmers with ruminants

it is often easier to find more land on which to

keep animals or to reduce associated feed costs.

But delays in selling or moving stock can quickly

result in farms running out of lower cost pasture

options and increasingly relying on more costly

conserved forage and feeding alternatives.

In either case, pastures and housing can quickly

fill up fast. Where freezer space is available, farmers

can go ahead and slaughter and store. But this

obviously presents additional risks if the market

does not recover quickly enough, for example,

or where your customers are seeking only fresh


On the other hand, when demand suddenly

explodes, a farm can be faced with excess demand

—and the risk of losing their market to those who

can meet it. In such situations, a farm can quickly

move all their current production and start selling

next year's product as well. However, we are aware

that obtaining slaughter slots to process the extra

sales can be a big problem. With many species,

such as cattle, it can take two years or more to

increase supply with the farms’ own breeding herd

production. Similarly, it generally takes 10 months

or more to bring farrow to finish pigs to point of

sale. The only option is to rapidly source either

feeder animals or point-of-slaughter animals to

meet excess demand.

What alternative markets are available?

Is home delivery an option? Or, more likely, can

you work with existing local, regional or national

distributors and marketers who are supplying

local, regional and national markets?

In many areas, local restaurants that have

been forced to close are attempting to operate

as takeout/delivery services or local food hubs.

Could they provide a new outlet for your products?

Or are there other more general markets available

that could help mitigate costs and lesson potential

losses? We have seen an explosion of online

suppliers of high-quality, specialized meats;

perhaps these outlets can offer new market

opportunities without the complications of

marketing and shipping yourselves.

If you are interested in setting up home delivery

or online sales there are plenty of options available.

Check our online resources for sources of online

sales advice and associated suppliers.

How secure are your markets?

Farmers’ markets and similar locations where

large numbers of people gather in one place are

now subject to significant restriction, and some

have even closed. Will your existing clients and

outlets still exist or be able to buy from you in the

future? It is an open question as to who will remain



Take a minute and

ask yourself a few

simple questions …

1. Where does

my animal feed

come from and

what supply

interruptions could

occur? Do I have

sufficient on-farm

supplies to see me

through? What’s

the lead time for


2. What if I have to

keep my animals

on the farm for a

prolonged period?

Where will I put

them? What would

I feed them? And

how much will that

cost? Can I afford

the cost?

3. If my slaughter

plant closes down,

what alternatives

exist? How do I

communicate with

my customers if

my product may

not be available?

4. If my distributor

or delivery service

is forced to close

how would I get

product to my


5. If all of the things

that could happen

DO happen, have

I got enough

resources to be


financially viable when everything settles and

what marketing opportunities will exist. Talk to

your customers. Seek to minimize your exposure

to risk, wherever possible.

Supplies and resources

Will the necessary supplies and resources to

maintain your business—such as feed, slaughter

capability, delivery and processing—continue to be

available in the short-, medium- and long-term?

Supply chains are rightly being prioritized for

human food; and we are already hearing animal

feeds are taking (quite rightly) second seat to

human feed. Veterinary services, feed suppliers,

slaughter/processing facilities and other important

services have also been reduced or shut down due

to virus-related labor shortages, for example.

We are aware that the sudden availability

of previously dedicated commodity animals for

finishing and slaughter has caused unexpected

complications, because the animals can be sourced

for a fraction of their normal value—and huge

short-term profits are possible. Some plants that

slaughtered for individual clients temporarily

switched to slaughtering excess commercial

production, either halting or significantly cutting

back on slaughter for their normal clients. We have

also seen consumers purchasing animals direct

from farms that did not previously have a direct

market program and having them slaughtered for

their freezers. Again, this has caused slaughter

slots to fill quickly.

Try to stay in regular contact with your

customers, suppliers and service providers. Talk to

your vet about potential shortages of key products

like medicines and disinfectants, and discuss

possible mitigating strategies/alternatives.

How long will the current situation last?

At present there is no answer to this question.

The situation is constantly changing. Try to listen

to trusted sources for information or guidance.

Set aside time to plan for the future



In some cases,

the lure of

cheap—or even


animals as a ‘quick

fix’ to help meet


consumer demand

has proved too

irresistible. As the

old saying goes,

“there’s no such

thing as a free

lunch.” Some farms

have bought in

‘cheap’ animals

only to discover

they were harboring


surprises, including

serious diseases

like PRRS or


parasites such as

mange that were

not previously

an issue, and

may well end up

costing them their


What is my current financial situation?

What resources can you bring to bear to help

weather the current situation? How much access

to capital do you have, and what type?

How long will it take my farm to recover?

This will depend on your unique situation: your

markets, how long the crisis lasts, any government

action/support, personal resources available and

tolerance to debt and future income producing


What is my risk tolerance?

You are going to be making decisions based

on imperfect information. There may be some

facts, alongside educated guesses and some

wild speculation on how things will unfold. You

will be right on some of it and wrong on others,

as will all the “experts” out there. Some people

are more comfortable with higher uncertainty than

others. Similarly, the tolerance of different levels

of debt and risk will be different for everyone, too.

You will have to decide how much you are willing

to invest to keep the farm operating. How much of

your own savings are you willing to risk, or money

borrowed from others?

Time to make plans

You need to make both short-term and long-term

plans, based on the questions above. Situations

like this are very fluid and plans must be adjusted

based on the latest information.

We must remember that sometimes things

are simply beyond our control and that the best

solution may also be the hardest. In the extreme,

that might be to exit farming—or to shut down the

farms’ direct marketing operation and try again

once things have stabilized.

Timing and where you are in life will make a big

difference. If you have good markets and are wellfunded,

the coronavirus outbreak may represent

just a bump in the road. If you just started farming

and you won’t be marketing until next year, then

it all could be forgotten by then. But if you were

already struggling and you are resource-scarce it

may be time to look to other options.

Every farmer needs to evaluate their situation

based on their individual goals and the resources

available to them. By being prepared and

planning ahead, you can lessen the impact of

potential supply-chain interruption over the

coming months. It is always better to make a

decision based on the facts of your situation than

to have it made for you.

As always, please let us know if we can help you

to navigate this ever-changing environment.

Turn to page 24 to contact your regional

AGW Farmer and Market Outreach Coordinator.


We are actively compiling a list of online

resources for farmers and ranchers who are

working through challenges brought about

by COVID-19.

These include:

Grants and financial assistance/advice

Full-service online sales platforms

Social media marketing advice

Taking payment (online, in-person)

Inventory management

DIY online storefront and e-commerce

Shipping resources

Shipping material suppliers

COVID-19 news on impacts for farmers

and food businesses

The list offers a wide selection of practical

guides, case studies, useful tools and more

from AGW and external organizations—

including USDA/Agriculture and Agri-Food

Canada and other government agencies,

state extensions, relief funds, representative

organizations and other nonprofits—and is

constantly being updated.

Visit agreenerworld.org/a-greener-world/


or contact your Farmer and Market Outreach

Coordinator (see page 24).





Understanding the effect we have on our

cattle when we are working them is the

key to success, says Dylan Biggs

What defines success when we are working cattle?

Years ago success for me was just getting the job

done. Now, success is about specific outcomes I

want to achieve. At the end of the day, regardless

of techniques, do’s and don’ts or rights or wrongs,

they are all academic if the outcome isn’t achieved.

The outcome I strive for now is calm, relaxed

cattle. When I pressure cattle to ask them to move

or turn, slow down or speed up, I want them to

respond in a calm, voluntary manner. When a

cow walks calmly through the gate into the corral

or onto a stock trailer or out of the squeeze; or a

herd walks calmly into a new pasture and they put

their heads down grazing, that is my definition of

success. To do this, I had to learn to take my cues

from the cattle. I had to learn to listen to them so

I could be in the right place at the right time and

in the right manner.


Getting cattle to do what we want can be quite a

challenge. There are times when cattle truly are

not interested in going along with our plan. There

are also times when, in our efforts to get them to

do what we want, we end up being in their way

without even knowing it. On the surface this may

seem rather unlikely—and 30 years ago if anyone

had told me that I was the cause of many of the

problems I was having moving an animal or a herd,

I wouldn’t have believed them. It is always easier

to blame the cattle, the dog, our spouse, kids, our

help, the weather or various other circumstances

for the problems we are having working our cattle.

But if we are going to have consistent success

handling cattle, it is imperative that we become

acutely aware of counterproductive positioning,

pressure and/or timing. Otherwise we will be

doomed to struggle from our own errors.

Negative associations

Something people often feel compelled to do is

increase the pressure on cattle the closer they get

to the destination, whether it’s the gate, the corral,

the barn or the back of the stock trailer. The closer

we get the more you start feeling the anxiety of

“I sure hope we don’t lose them now”—and the

more pressure we instinctively want to apply.

Without even knowing it, we start to push the

cattle harder as added insurance. After all, no one

wants to get to the gate, corrals, barn door or stock

trailer only to have the cattle turn around and run

off. Just when the animal is at the threshold is

when we feel the strongest urge to rush the cow:

to slap, poke or prod her to “make sure” she goes.

It is almost an instinctive response and easily

becomes a habit.

Whether she goes or not, we have communicated

to her that the closer she gets to where we want

her, the more pressure she’ll experience—in other

words, the more unsafe her life becomes. Then

we assume that the cows don’t want to go there

because they are afraid of [“whatever”].

It is something I observe everywhere I go,

whether at places with thousands of head of cattle

or with 10. We unintentionally teach our cattle that

the places we want them to go are not safe because

of the stress we create for them.

I am not saying there aren’t circumstances

where more pressure isn’t required. But the

question is: are the cattle slowing down or on the

verge of stopping, signalling the need for more

pressure? If we are just pushing the cattle harder

in response to our own insecurity or impulse there

is a high probability of unintended consequences

that can result in the moment, and that stress can

accumulate over time.

Trust and respect

Some people believe all that is necessary to

handle cattle successfully is enough kindness,

compassion and patience. Yes, a compassionate

heart is essential as a foundation for patience

when working with animals. But if a cow's mind

is firmly fixed elsewhere we can whisper all the

sweet nothings we want: it will be to no avail! If a

bull's mind is on cycling cows, sweet nothings will

not walk him home. Nor will it prevent calves from


“It is always

easier to

blame the

cattle, the

dog, our


kids, our

help, the

weather ...”



running back to find Mom or get cows to go pair

up with their calves if fresh spring grass is on the

menu after a long, cold winter on dry hay.

What will work in all these situations is an approach

to cattle handling that establishes enough

trust and respect that the cattle will voluntarily

yield to your position and pressure to go when

and where you choose. If cattle are going to yield

to your position in a calm responsive manner they

must trust you and they must respect you. If you

observe the hierarchical social structure of a herd

you will know that the boss cow does not establish

or maintain preferential access to the best of all

things in her world without firmly establishing and

maintaining respect from the rest of the herd.

Observation is the key

The reality is that the majority of cattle handling

problems actually stem from instinctive human

behaviors and it is imperative that we become

aware of these impulses and tendencies around

livestock so we can avoid the unintended consequences.

Over the years I have had plenty of

folks explain to me that their cows don’t want to

do this or that because of “X, Y or Z”; my response

is that while this may be true, it may also be that

the cows want to avoid the human commotion

that they associated with those specific locations.

Several times I have been told that “the cattle

won’t go into the corral.” But then I have worked

their cows and have walked them right into the

corral with no problem, where they stand there

calm and quiet.

Whether we are aware of it or not, every time

we are handling our cattle we are training them.

Training them to be more trusting, responsive and

controllable—or less trusting, less responsive and

less controllable. Becoming aware of the effect

we have on our cattle when we are working them

requires that we observe how they respond to us,

what are they telling us. If we are listening they

will tell us what we need to know to be in the best

position possible at the right time and with the

right kind of movement. Once we are aware of

—and in control of—our instinctive behaviors

we will be better equipped to handle cattle in

a manner that gets the job done efficiently and

safely, and with minimum stress.

Further information

Dylan Biggs offers regular practical seminars

on low-stress livestock handling, including:

introductory one-day seminars; intensive twoday

cattle handling clinics; advanced cattle

handling clinics; and custom cattle handling

clinics. Find out more at dylanbiggs.com or call

1-888-857-2624. Watch Dylan in practice in a

Canadian Centre for Health & Safety in Agriculture

video: youtube.com/watch?v=45jAC5PEqTI

How to

corral OK

Dylan Biggs works with a group of yearling heifers

Cattle that are nervous and flighty in corrals

are almost always behaving that way due to

the residual nervousness of the ‘pasture gather,

move and penning’ experience. The behavior

in the corral is an indication and reflection of

what went before the corral. If the milk is spilled

getting to the corral it can be tough to remedy

how the cattle behave in the corral itself. How

you work them can make it worse, but even if

one is very conscientious they are not going

to calm down right then and there.

Let’s assume the location is the gate into the

corrals. Ideally the cattle will be comfortable

coming to and going through the gate into the

corral. We don’t want them to associate the

gate with fear or anxiety, yet that is what we

risk if every time they get close to the gate

we get anxious and start pushing harder,

especially if we start making a commotion

with noise and arm waiving to get them to go

through the gate. We want them to want to be

there but because of impulse we can easily do

a good job of training them to actively avoid the

gate. Maintaining a calm confident demeanor in

all situations is ideal.

The next impulse that is often acted on in

combination with pushing harder is the impulse

to push directly into the rear of the herd from

behind. What this risks if this is sustained for

any time at all is flaring out the side of the herd

which will stop your movement and or worse

the lead will flare out and in no time the herd is

turning around and coming back on top of you.

All of this can happen in short order and happen

as a result of our actions, yet we invariably

blame it on the cattle.

Dylan and Colleen Biggs raise Certified Grassfed by AGW beef cattle and

sheep and Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pigs at TK Ranch

in Alberta. Visit tkranch.com


The following article

was supported in part

by the U.S. Department

of Agriculture, Agricultural

Research Service. Some

of this material is based

upon work that is supported

by the National

Institute of Food and

Agriculture, U.S. Department

of Agriculture,

Organic Research and

Education Initiative

under award number


Mention of trade

names or commercial

products is solely for the

purpose of providing

specific information

and does not imply

recommendation or

endorsement by the

U.S. Department of

Agriculture. USDA is

an equal opportunity

provider and employer.



Joan Burke




for gastrointestinal



and control

in sheep

and goats

Scanning electron microscopic image of larval nematode (worm) trapped in sticky loops of D. flagrans

Any experienced livestock producer knows that

parasites are a natural part of livestock farming.

But new farmers may panic when they first realize

their animal has worms, feeling they may have

somehow neglected their animals. The goal should

be to manage or minimize the parasites, but not

eradicate them. It is important to stimulate the

animal’s immune response, but not overwhelm it.

Producers should feel comfortable having a few

worms on farm, but not so many as to harm

animal welfare.

This article aims to explain the basic biology of

some common gastrointestinal nematode parasites

and outline a number of strategies to manage them,

as well as dispel some myths of the commonly

touted products that fail to control worms.

Life cycle and biology

of nematode parasites

Gastrointestinal nematode parasites have a direct

life cycle where parasite eggs are shed in the feces

and distributed over the pasture. The first stage

larvae develop inside the egg and hatch out within

48 hours, before developing to the second and

then third infective stage (also known as L3).

The third stage infective larvae migrate out of

the feces to soil and grass surfaces, where they

are ingested by grazing animals. The larvae travel

to the stomach or intestine where they penetrate

the gut wall. Mature larvae then emerge from the

gut wall and colonize the lumen of the stomach

or intestine where they mature and reproduce

to generate eggs. Adult worms can produce

thousands of eggs per day, and can lead to

significant health impacts or even death of

the infected animal.

Dewormer resistance

Dewormer resistance—sometimes to all classes

of dewormer—is highly prevalent in the U.S. and

in many countries around the world.

Dewormer resistance occurs when parasitic




“Research shows

that Sericea lespedeza

can reduce the blood

sucking and egg laying

ability of barber pole



worms in a population survive drug treatment and

is a permanent genetic mutation. The more resistant

the worms, the less effective the dewormer will be.

If farms are fortunate enough to have worms that

are still susceptible to dewormers, these valuable

tools should be used only selectively—and not

on the entire flock—to keep a pool of worms unexposed

to the dewormer. Sustainable tools are

described below which can be used to complement

a deworming program and, in some cases, may

even replace the need for dewormers.

Copper oxide wire particles

Copper oxide wire particles or COWP (sold as

Copasure® or Ultracruz®) are small particles of

copper oxide delivered in a gelatin bolus (right)

to alleviate copper deficiency in small ruminants.

Research has shown that COWP are relatively

effective against barber pole worm, although

less effective against other intestinal parasites.

When COWP is combined with either

albendazole (such as Valbazen®) or levamisole

(such as Prohibit®), efficacy against barber pole

worm and intestinal worms greatly improves.

A study conducted in Arkansas, which tends to

have copper-deficient soils, showed that up to

four low dose treatments could be used on lambs

in one summer with liver copper levels remaining

safe. Nevertheless, caution should be taken when

administering any copper product to sheep (and

maybe goats) as they can easily succumb to

copper toxicity. COWP for parasite control should

only be used in small doses (0.5—1 g in sheep and

goats less than one year of age; 1—2 g in older

animals) and used as needed. It is important to

ensure that only copper oxide is used and not the

more readily absorbed copper sulphate, which

could lead to copper toxicity.

Nematode trapping fungi

Nematode-trapping fungi, also known as

predatory fungi, have potential as a biological

control agent The fungi trap and destroy developing

parasitic larvae in feces by creating trapping

structures, which prevent larvae from migrating

out of the fecal mass and onto forage, resulting in

fewer larvae available to infect grazing ruminants.

Duddingtonia flagrans is the fungal species

available in the U.S. and must be fed to livestock

to be effective. Spores survive passage through


Original bolus

Size 1 (0.5g)

Size 3 (0.5g)

the digestive tract of ruminants and, after the

animal defecates, germinate and grow in the feces

to form the sticky, sophisticated loops that trap

the developing parasitic larvae.

Daily feeding requires an intensive management

system to ensure each animal can consume

an adequate amount of the feed/spore mixture.

To achieve adequate control of larvae in the feces,

the spores must be fed for a period of 60 to 120

days, usually starting at the beginning of the

grazing season (especially weanlings) and to dams

during the peri-parturient period. Feeding studies

with several livestock species (including small

ruminants) have shown high reduction of larvae

in feces and on pasture.

Two formulations of D. flagrans are available:

BioWorma® and Livamol® with BioWorma®. For

one 100 lb animal it costs about $0.60/day to

feed Livamol® or $0.21/day to feed BioWorma®

(requires dilution in a premix). New products are

under development. For more information visit



Due to years of selection while grazing grass,

sheep are generally more resistant to parasites

than goats, whereas goats evolved to browse

trees and shrubs away from infective parasites.

Sheep that were developed in warm, humid

climates adapted to heavier parasite infection

through an immune response to resist infection

or become resilient. Resistant breeds include

the St Croix, Barbados Blackbelly, Florida Cracker,

Florida Native and Gulf Coast Native. The Katahdin

is a composite breed that can be resistant, resilient

or susceptible, depending on breeding objectives of

their originating flock. While no specific goat breed

is known to be resistant to parasites, Spanish and

Kiko are often more resistant or resilient than Boer.

In general, dairy goats are considered susceptible

to parasites, due to selection for productive traits

rather than survival.

Feeding, pastures and forages

Providing a wide variety of high quality forages

and forage types should minimize pasture

infection of nematode parasites. Short grasses

allow the greatest infection potential, whereas

more complex physical structures on the plant

—or an elevated height of browse, trees and

shrubs—are least infective.

Some plants have secondary compounds that

naturally protect the plant from drought, excess

water, pests and grazing; these compounds can

also have bioactivity against some nematode

parasites when consumed. Research shows

that Sericea lespedeza, a legume forage rich in

condensed tannins, can reduce the blood sucking

and egg laying ability of barber pole worm,

although not necessarily kill the worms. Grazing

Sericea lespedeza-rich forage or providing dried

hay or pellets can be one tool to reduce the

infection intensity. Birdsfoot trefoil and sainfoin

are other condensed tannin rich plants to aid in

control of internal parasites.

It goes without saying that overgrazing should

be avoided, as this can quickly lead to parasite

problems, both from overdispersion of parasites

and reduced nutrition to the animal.

Questionable alternatives

Some farmers swear by the use of diatomaceous

earth (DE) for parasite control. When DE is ingested

by livestock, the microscopic shards are thought

to use mechanical movements within the gut to

cause injury to the outer cuticle of nematodes

and ultimately lead to dehydration and death of

the adult parasites. However, research literature

is almost void of studies on DE against livestock

parasites, and our own trials found little evidence

of any reduction in fecal egg counts after feeding

2% of diet as DE for seven days.

Similarly, there is little scientific evidence of

any effect of common herbal products, garlic,

papaya, pumpkin seeds or ginger on the reduction

of fecal egg counts or worms—or an improvement

in anemia in small ruminants. It may be that

continuous use of some products is necessary,

or precise formulations or genetic material.

Nevertheless, we believe that it is best to rely on

more tried and true methods for parasite control.

None of the above strategies should be relied

upon alone, but rather applied in an integrated

fashion. Good pasture management (including

rotational grazing and quality forages) combined

with resistant livestock breeds should yield

sustainable worm control. The goal, as always, is to

minimize uptake of infective larvae from pastures,

minimize infection and selectively treat for worms,

where necessary.

Gastrointestinal parasites

Grazers pick up infective larvae from pastures, become infected and

depost feces with eggs to continue the infection cycle.

Minimizing larval uptake

• Gazing management through

rotational grazing.

• Low stocking rates.

• Providing high-quality, mixed

forages such as chicory or clover

which are less likely to transmit


• Feeding nematode-trapping

fungus to kill larvae in feces.

Minimizing infection

within the animal

• Selecting resistant genetics or

resistant breeds.

• Improved nutrition through quality

forages and supplements to

maintain good body condition,

especially at key life stages.

• Feeding plants with condensed

tannins, such as Sericea

lespedeza or Birdsfoot trefoil.

• Intervention of worm infection

with COWP and/or effective


Dr. Joan M. Burke is a Research Animal Scientist with the USDA, Agricultural

Research Service, Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in Booneville,

Arkansas. The 2,200-acre research center manages Certified Animal

Welfare Approved by AGW sheep breeding and feeder stock. For more

information visit ars.usda.gov/southeast-area/booneville-ar/






Jen Gravely Burton

explores the body’s

complex systems that

protect animal health


“The immune system.” When captured in these

three words it sounds simple, almost straightforward—a

single entity or, at the very least,

a tightly coordinated set. Is it that simple?

Not at all. Coordinated? Well, yes and no.

To begin to sort it out, let’s meet a few of the

key players.

Natural killers

A wide variety of white blood cells emerge from

stem cells in the bone marrow. Natural killer

(NK) cells need help identifying diseased cells

in the body. But once those cells are marked as

containing virus or cancer DNA, NK cells punch

holes in their outer membranes, killing diseased

cells before they can do more harm.

Such a deadly force requires some regulation

and thymic—or “T” cells—are up to the task. In a

developing animal’s thymus, T cells are tested to

make sure they can differentiate between normal

cells and a foreign invader. T cells that would cause

harm to the animal’s normal tissues, and those

that fail to strongly oppose foreign proteins, are

killed before they leave the thymus. Some of the

survivors will become T ‘helper’ cells, stimulating

or suppressing other immune cells (including

NK cells) to modulate immune activity. Others

will become cytotoxic T cells, themselves armed

to destroy virus-infected or tumor-ridden cells.

NK and T cells are the main type of cell found in

lymphatic system and are known as lymphocytes.

Inflammatory or granular cells are also armed

with chemical weapons but are more mobile than

most lymphocytes. While the NK and T lymphocytes

tend to work on-site, granular cells circulate

in the bloodstream until body tissues send a signal

for help. When called, these inflammatory cells

move through vessel walls into tissue, where they

discharge their chemical contents. The ensuing

reactions release free radicals, causing oxidative

damage to disinfect wounds and kill invaders.

The fluid and debris they leave behind is called


Immune response

Other myelocytes take an even more systemic

approach. Monocytes, macrophages and dendritic

cells assume dual roles. At large in the tissues,

these immune cells engulf and digest foreign or

damaged material—from slivers, to microbes, to

cancer cells. They attack and neutralize invaders,

clean-up damage and transport materials for

recycling or disposal. In addition to this “phagocyte”

role, many are antigen-presenting cells (APCs).

APCs transport materials to organized immune

tissues like lymph nodes. In these immune control

centers, APCs present foreign material to other

cells so that a targeted, specific immune response

can develop.


When a calf is

infected with

Bovine Viral

Diarrhea (BVD)

in utero before the

thymus develops,

the thymus cannot

differentiate this

virus from the calf’s

normal cells. T cells

that strongly oppose

the BVD virus

are killed. Without

those T cells, the

animal will remain


infected” (BVD-PI)

for life, shedding

virus continuously.


Where inflammation

is present, antioxidants

can help

reduce collateral

damage and

neutralize debris

so that it can be

transported away

from the site. Both

of these effects

reduce swelling and

facilitate healing.


What about antibodies? Antibodies are not

immune cells, but rather proteins produced by

“B” immune cells. When faced with a foreign

material or “antigen”, B lymphocytes (with help

from APC and helper cells) produce antibodies

(also known as immunoglobulins) that can bind

those materials. This binding interrupts pathogen

activity, makes invaders an easier target for other

immune cells, and helps other systems transport

these materials out of body.

The very specific antibodies that characterize

our most effective immune response take 2–3

weeks to manufacture, then wane as infection

subsides. After their job is done, some antibodyproducing

B cells transform into long-lived

memory cells. If they ever see their target

pathogen again, they will ensure a much faster

immune response next time—so fast that in

many cases you’ll never know the animal was

infected. Memory cells are the reason individuals

who recently recovered from a disease won’t

be re-infected by their herd-mates. Lasting a

few months to 50 years or more, this “immune

memory” is also the end product of vaccines.

Newborns and colostrum

Newborns arrive with fully functional NK, T and

inflammatory cells. But they lack the more coordinated

APCs and B cells, so they cannot make

antibodies. In most species, the highly specific

antibodies that emerge 2-3 weeks after infection

or vaccination are the only type that can be

transferred in colostrum, so it is important to

time late-pregnancy vaccinations correctly—

usually about a month before delivery.

Veterinarians recommend that you avoid

moving the dam in the last month of pregnancy

for the same reason. Colostrum will protect offspring

against the pathogens mom was exposed

to a month before delivery, but will not protect

against pathogens she first encountered just

a couple weeks before delivery.

Maternal antibodies protect the young

animal until it is able to mount its own B cell

response. Once the animal is able to produce

immunoglobulins vaccines can be effective.

However, vaccines cannot work in the presence

of antibodies. Some vaccines are given multiple

times to young animals to ensure protection as

soon as possible after maternal antibodies wane.

Jen Gravely Burton dvm is a veterinarian and

educator with a special interest in the intersection

of food animal medicine and public health.




The nutritional contribution of pasture to poultry diets is highly variable

and—generally—very small

Certification news


Pastured chickens will obtain a certain amount

of nutrients from the pasture, as well as insects

and other small invertebrates, and from small

seeds, fruits and berries. Although there is little

consensus about exactly how important each

of these sources of nutrition is, scientists agree

that the potential contribution of pasture (grass,

insects and worms) is highly variable and generally

very small. From a welfare and productivity

perspective, it is therefore vital for pastured

poultry farmers to supply a well-balanced ration

as the primary source of nutrition for their birds.

Nutritional benefits of pasture

Pasture consumption is influenced by a number

of factors, including the amount of time spent

outdoors, foraging behavior, plant species, stage

of growth, palatability and nutritional content of

the plants, and the nutritional needs of the birds.

Breed may also be important, as research shows

that slow-growing breeds adapted to outdoor

conditions will generally utilize forage more


The nutritional quality of pasture is related

at least in part to the plant species composition.

Pastures used by many free-range poultry flocks

will have been established for use by cattle or

sheep and may therefore contain species that

are not ideal for poultry production. If poultry

consume largely grass, the nutritional value

derived is likely to be relatively poor. While it

would provide some energy and fiber, the protein

contribution would be low at less than 5% of the

total requirement. However, birds that are allowed

to freely range will also consume a higher

proportion of insects and seeds than those

that have limited access to forage or a small

ranging area. Research shows that pasture intake

promotes growth by improving the consumption

of the grain-based feed, even though the intake of

forage dry matter may be low.

Additional forages

Providing chickens with additional forages to

supplement their diet (and enhance the range)

can have positive welfare impacts. Feeding pea

and maize silages or loose vegetables, for example,

significantly reduced mortality, feather pecking

(including severe pecking) and improved plumage

quality of layers. Providing straw as forage and

feed in mash form has also been shown to

reduce feather pecking.

Nutritional deficiencies

Many nutritional deficiencies in poultry show

similar symptoms, such as reduced growth, poor

feathering and weakness, so it can be difficult to

determine the precise deficiency. Diet analysis,

examination of the management system and

necroscopy may be necessary for accurate

diagnosis. Some nutritional deficiencies are

temporary and reversible upon diet correction.

Article adapted from Farm Health Online.

For more information about practical,

science-based advice on highwelfare

livestock management,

visit farmhealthonline.com



Major nutrients

water; energy;

protein; essential

amino acids

(especially lysine

and methionine);

essential fatty acids

Major minerals

calcium; potassium;



sodium; chloride

Trace elements

include: iodine;

selenium; iron; zinc;

copper; manganese


A, D, E, K and B12;

folic acid; thiamin,

riboflavin; niacin;

pantothenic acid;

pyrodoxine; biotin;



Tim Holmes

explains the


protocols for

AGW audits

Tim Holmes is

Director of Compliance

with A Greener World

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, AGW

rapidly suspended all travel and on-site facility

audits. In order to ensure the continuation of the

certification process and maintain integrity of

all AGW programs and certified businesses, we

have introduced new temporary protocols and

procedures for remote or ‘desktop’ auditing.

Desktop audits allow us to audit facilities

without physically visiting a farm or business.

They encompass all areas of a standard audit,

including an examination of management plans,

records (including input and output records to

assess input-output balance) and an assessment

of any other relevant information pertinent to

meeting the objective of the audit. The ‘physical’

on-site visit is replaced with an interview with

the facility contact over the phone or by video


Pre-audit preparation

As your certification renewal date approaches

(and once you have paid your fee), an auditor will

contact you to arrange and schedule your desktop

audit. We can do it by phone or (preferably) video

conferencing such as Skype, WhatsApp or Face

Time. Video conferencing software often allows

screen sharing, which can be a useful option to

verify evidence.

Once agreed, we’ll send you an email with full

instructions, a Self-Assessment Form and a copy

of your previous audit and compliance report

(if applicable). It is important to go through this

carefully. You’ll need to note any changes to your

business on the Self-Assessment Form. We’ll

also ask for copies of management plans and

farm management records, as well as any specific

information the auditor wishes to see. This might

include photos of livestock, housing, feed labels,

ingredients and other relevant documentation

or evidence. Keep copies of all this information

as you’ll need it during the audit to answer any

questions raised.

You will need to complete the Self-Assessment

Form and send it back to the auditor promptly,

along with all requested plans, records and other

information. This enables the auditor to prepare

for the audit day. Please return the assessment

form promptly to avoid unnecessary delays.

On the day

On the day of the audit the auditor will contact

you at the arranged time and explain the plan

for the desktop audit. It is important to choose

a quiet location where you will not be interrupted

and where conversations cannot be overheard to

ensure confidentiality. If you intend to use video

software please choose a neutral background wall

and remove any visible personal information.

The auditor will start by going through the

relevant compliance report questions, referring to

the reference material you have provided, so please

make sure you have the information available.

If for any reason we are unable to complete

the audit in one sitting, your auditor will schedule

a second appointment.

We’ll do our best to make sure the desktop

audit is as painless as possible and appreciate your

cooperation at this difficult time. Please allow up

to five weeks to receive your completed audit and

compliance report.

New facilities or species

New facilities or existing facilities with a new

species will require an on-site visit to certify. We

are currently evaluating travel restriction and the

viral status of different areas. Once it is deemed

safe to travel we will restart on-site audits and

new facilities and facilities adding species will

receive priority status.

If you have any question about desktop

auditing, please get in touch. We would be

happy to discuss the process with you.




From advice

on applying,

label design

and technical


we’re here

to help ...

Your regional point of contact

From Alaska to Wyoming, Alberta to Saskatchewan, our outreach team

offers a one-stop shop for farmers, ranchers and food businesses!

Katie Amos




Callie Casteel




Promoting A Greener World

AGW is proud to offer

low-cost branded

promotional materials

to help raise awareness

of your certification and

better communicate

the wider benefits of

your farming practices.

Every purchase also

supports our work to

educate and inform

consumers—and helps

keep your certifications


For more promotional

materials—and to

place an order (with




For Canada, please

call +1 541-526-1119


• Perfect for farmers’

markets or the kitchen

• 8 oz organic cotton/

recycled polyester

• Black fabric with white

imprint A Greener

World logo

• Adjustable neckline,

two front pockets,

brass rivets, cotton

webbing ties



• Sold in packs of five

• Printed on premium

silk stock with

wipeable coating

• 4¼" x 2¾"

• EZ-peal adhesive for

shelf mounting

• Made in the USA

Certified Animal

Welfare Approved by

AGW producers only



LABELS $5.70

• Full-color 1" x 1"

high-quality stickers

• Long-life adhesive

• 1,000 stickers per roll

Certified Non-GMO

by AGW producers only



• Stylish, insulated

four-can lunch cooler

made from recycled,

post-consumer plastic

• Fold-over flap with

Velcro strap

• Graphite color with

black text/AGW logo

• 7 ¼" long x 10½" high

x 5 ¼" wide



Sustainable Farming will be moving

to subscription-only in paper format.

To ensure everyone can continue enjoying

the magazine while being smart with

our resources, we're launching a new

subscription option in 2021.

AGW-certified farmers and ranchers will

still receive a complementary paper copy

as a benefit of certification. All other

subscriptions will transition to our free

digital format. If you (like many) would

prefer a paper copy, you can subscribe

for $36/year. Thank you for making this

valuable magazine possible.





LABELS $5.70

• 1" x 1" high-quality


• Long-life adhesive

• 1,000 stickers per roll

Certified Animal

Welfare Approved by

AGW producers only



LABELS $4.60

• 1" x 1" high-quality


• Long-life adhesive

• 1,000 stickers per roll

Certified Grassfed by

AGW producers only





• French version

• 1" x 1" high-quality


• Long-life adhesive

• 1,000 stickers per roll

Certified Animal

Welfare Approved by

AGW producers only



• Explains the benefits

of certification

• Ideal for farmers’

markets, farm stores

and other events

• 50 brochures per pack

Certified Animal

Welfare Approved by

AGW producers only


• Ideal for farmers’


• 18" x 24" with corner


• Full color imprint

• Hard-wearing

18 oz vinyl

Certified Animal

Welfare Approved by

AGW producers only


Meet the farmer


Margot Heard with her daughter Elizabeth Heard Clarke and grandson Hugh McGregor Clarke

Margot Heard raises Certified Animal Welfare

Approved by AGW cattle at Lazy A Ranch in

Austin County, Texas. She manages British White

and Akaushi cattle on two properties totalling

approximately 500 acres, selling high-quality

grassfed beef through an online store. Educational

activities sit at the very heart of the ranch.

How did you get into farming?

My father was a farmer and designed the first

feedlot in Texas in the 1950s. As a child my favorite

place was the ranch. After living and working in

Houston for many years, my husband and I wanted

a place in the country for our family. We eventually

bought the Lazy A Ranch in 2008 and started with

the 22 Santa Gertrudis cows on the ranch and their

Star Five calves. I knew grassfed beef was better for

health and began to research it. I found information

about Certified Animal Welfare Approved on the

internet and knew it was the right fit.

Describe a typical day

I get up early and read my emails, check my

investment sites and maybe watch business news.

After breakfast I check the activities of the day and

our chickens, cattle and livestock guardian dogs.

We have a ranch manager who manages the cattle.

If we need to work cattle we do that in the morning.

During the day I get calls from meat customers

or Saint Nicholas School in Houston, where I am

headmistress and co-founder. After lunch I catch

up on news and work on paperwork. In the evening

we have a final check on the cattle and do more

chores. After that we sit by the fire or sit outside

by the pool to talk, depending on the season.

Then we have supper, relax or take care of any

unfinished business.

Who are your customers?

People who are looking to buy high-quality,

high-welfare sustainable meat on the internet.

Sustainable farming principles:

why do they matter?

They provide transparency in food production and

access to buyers. The land must be managed in a

holistic manner to restore and maintain it. Practices

should be profitable, environmentally sound and

provide service to communities.

What’s the benefit of being certified by AGW?

It provides verification of what we claim. Anyone

can use the terms ‘grassfed’ or ‘natural’ and not

be authentic.

What are your plans for the future?

We want to add leased or purchased acreage

to increase our meat business volume. We’ve

struggled to find dependable markets—except

our website sales. This year we began working

with Barn2Door which is designed to help

farmers sell online.

What keeps you awake at night?

Ideas I am working on. Keeping up with the

paperwork for all my projects can be frustrating!

If I were President I would ...

Break the meat packer monopoly and encourage

diversity along the supply chain for meat. We do

not have a fair market for the producer.


Farm: Lazy A Ranch



Size: 500 acres

Soil type: Mostly

dark clay soil with

some sandy soil

Altitude: 100 ft

Annual rainfall:

40 inches


300 head of British

White and Akaushi

cattle, selling AGWcertified





The International Monthly Publication for a Healthy Planet and People

through Profitable Grass-Based Livestock Production

FOCUSED on the art and science of making a PROFIT from grassland agriculture.

Get Your FREE Sample Issue Today!


P.O. Box 2300 Ridgeland, MS 39158-2300




PO Box 115, Terrebonne OR 97760






“Customers today ask more questions about what’s in their food and how it was produced. Our Certified

“Animal Welfare Approved by AGW certification has helped get more customers, without a doubt!”

“NELSON AND MARY JAMES, Dogwood Farm, North Carolina





visit agreenerworld.org

call 800-373-8806


A Greener World | PO Box 115 | Terrebonne OR 97760 | 800-373-8806 | info@agreenerworld.org

@AGreenerWorld | @AGreenerWorld | @AGreenerWorldOrg

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